Best Home Stationary Exercise Bike Reviews
It’s 8:30 pm, you have finally completed all of your errands, and now it’s time to relax… Although, after checking how many steps you have walked today you decide it’s probably best to do some exercise. After spending 20 minutes trying to find your high-vis jacket, fixing the chain which keeps slipping on your bike and removing the massive spider from your helmet you are finally ready to go! Lo and behold you’ve got a flat tire. If you are anything like me, then right about now you would have given up, opened your computer and tried to find a better alternative.
As of this month, there are currently over 600 exercise bikes available to buy. You can pay anything between $100 and $3000 for a single bike. While some of them use advanced, never-seen-before technology, some are poor quality and lack good reviews. This makes choosing the right product difficult, that is why we have compared the leading products in the industry and given you a break down of their benefits and negatives.
Exercise bikes are one of the most popular pieces of at-home exercise equipment and for a good reason. They are:
- Convenient, being able to hop onto your indoor bike whatever the time or weather.
- Stationary bikes usually come with monitors which track your distance, heart rate, calories burnt and more.
- Cycling does not strain your joints unlike other exercises such as running.
- Unlike other exercises you don’t need to focus on your surroundings.
- It increases your productivity, with a stationary bike you can multitask.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Different Types Of Exercise Bikes
- 2 Product Reviews
- 3 Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
- 4 Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
- 5 Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Exercise Bike
- 6 Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
- 7 Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike With Resistance
- 8 Exerpeutic WORKFIT 1000 Folding Semi-Recumbent Exercise Bike
- 9 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Right Exercise Bike For You
- 10 Which Type Of Exercise Bike Should You Choose?
- 11 Mechanical Variations
- 12 Other Considerations
- 13 Conclusion
Different Types Of Exercise Bikes
Important: There are several kinds of stationary bikes, but the main ones are upright and recumbent. Upright bikes are designed like a typical road bike while recumbent uses a different position with the pedals located in front of you. Both types of indoor bicycle have benefits, so to help you decide which one you would prefer, here are the basics:
This is most like a traditional outdoor bike. You sit with your body directly above the pedals, slightly leaning forward, bending at your neck and back. The seat is just like a road or mountain bike. Upright bikes take up less space that recumbent bikes, so if you don’t have a big room to exercise in this is the better choice.
Your body is more supported on a recumbent bike. You sit in a reclined position with the pedals in front of you, so you will probably find this more comfortable than an upright bike. It is a great solution if you don’t have good balance or if you suffer from backache.
We reviewed the best indoor exercise bikes on the market and compiled their pro’s and con’s below to help you decide the product for you.
Schwinn 170 (Upright Bike)
- Our Rating
- Weighted Flywheel
- 25 Levels Of Resistance (Computer Controlled)
Schwinn 270 (Recumbent Bike)
- Our Rating
- Weighted Flywheel
- 25 Levels Of Resistance (Computer Controlled)
Schwinn AD6 (Upright Bike)
- Our Rating
- Fan-Powered Wind Resistance
- Unlimited Resistance
Exerpeutic Folding (Upright Bike)
- Our Rating
- Magnetic Resistance
- 8 Levels Of Resistance (Magnetic Tension)
Marcy ME-709 (Recumbent Bike)
- Our Rating
- Magnetic Resistance
- 8 Levels Of Resistance
Exerpuetic 1000 (Semi-Recumbent)
- Our Rating
- Magnetic Resistance
- 8 Levels Of Resistance (Magnetic Tension)
Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
The Schwinn 170 is an excellent workout system for beginners and advanced athletes alike. The easy-to-use console comes pre-loaded with 29 workout programs, and if that’s not enough, you can create your own. This keeps your workouts interesting and challenging allowing you to get better results.
This exercise bike is professional-quality, and the stylish design will look fantastic in your home, garage or home gym. Your gym buddies will be jealous that you chose the Schwinn, which is widely considered the best of the best!
Keep reading to find out why the Schwinn 170 is a great all-round exercise bike and why we are happy to give it OGLF Reviews, editor’s choice stamp of approval.
Design & Ergonomics
You will find this bike is a solid, sturdy piece of equipment that is built to last. The seat is padded and curved to keep you comfortable during your workout. You can adjust it both horizontally and vertically to fit you perfectly, so even if you have very short legs, or particularly long legs you can use this machine with comfort and ease. Plus, if you don’t like the seat, then you can easily swap it for a different one – even more personal!
You can adjust the handlebars including the forearm rests to a position which suits you. This means that you can maintain the optimal posture throughout your workout, keeping you comfortable and preventing you from getting injuries. The handlebars have built-in pulse sensors which are perfectly placed for when you are riding, but if you prefer you can also purchase a heart rate chest strap monitor which provides more accurate data. We recommend the Polar T31 which works with the Schwinn 170 and 270.
The console data is easy to read (even in low light), is modern and very natural to use. You can use it to completely customize your plan. In addition to that, you can track your progress and build your workout by using apps, saving the data directly from your bike to your phone or another device by Bluetooth.
You may be concerned about noise as it contains a weighted flywheel mechanism – but there is no need. This high speed, high resistance bike is incredibly quiet to use, so you can still watch television during your workout without turning up the volume, and you don’t need to worry about disturbing your neighbors. The Schwinn 170 uses a 3-piece crank, this gives you extra support and the drive system gives you a smooth, consistent workout.
Ease Of Use
You will find this bike is incredibly easy to assemble and the tools you require are all included in the pack. You can put it together by yourself in as little as an hour so that you can get on with your exercise straight away. The console is easy to work and gives you quick access to alter your speed and resistance while riding. Even if you place a tablet or other item over the console during your workout, the higher of the two screens mean you can still monitor your results throughout. It is user-friendly and crafted entirely to make your workout enjoyable, yet challenging and effective.
Display & Media
The media console houses 2 LED screens which present the workout data, including your speed, distance, calories burnt and heart rate. These scores are saved to an app on your phone via Bluetooth so that you can track your progress. It gives you quick and easy access to the speed and resistance settings to make your workout as seamless as possible.
The console allows you to select from the 29 programs, as well as between 12 profiles, 8 heart rate settings, 4 custom users and 2 fitness tests. This means that you can not only save your data but compare your progress with friends and even compete with them, making your exercise regimen even more engaging.
The bike also has built-in speakers, which you can attach your phone or mp3 player to via Bluetooth. Alternatively, you can connect it to the USB port, which will also charge your device.
The pedal system on this exercise bike has recently been upgraded to improve safety and comfort. The pedals are now wider than previous generations and have a strap over the top, so your feet will feel very secure on the pedals as you work out. The bike is very sturdy, and to keep you even more balanced, there are stabilizing wheels in the front and levelers at the back. The heart rate sensors are conveniently placed so you can keep track of your heart rate without altering your settings or position.
- Track progress easily online
- Smooth, consistent motion
- Plenty of pre-set workouts, tests, challenges and fun rides
- Built-in speakers with Bluetooth connectivity
- Built-in fan
- Easy to use console
- Compare your data with up to 3 friends
- There aren’t any – we love this exercise bike!
Overall, this is a great exercise bike whether you are a beginner or advanced athlete. The solid build with the varied and effective plans is great value for money and will keep your workouts interesting. We love how it connects directly to an online app, so you can download your fitness data and keep track of your progress. Plus, the built-in fan, sculpted seat, ease of use and adjustability makes your workouts as comfortable as possible, so you can get the most out of each session.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
If you are looking for a recumbent bike, the Schwinn 270 is an excellent choice. From its cushioned seat and adjustable pedal distance to the vented seat back and intuitive computer console, its ergonomic design has taken into account every element of your comfort, posture and performance to give you the best workout experience without straining yourself.
You will see great results with this recumbent exercise bike, and what’s more, you will enjoy working out. Use one of 29 programs that are already built into the console or create your own – it’s completely personal.
Keep reading to find out what makes the Schwinn 270 our editor’s choice in the recumbent category.
Design & Ergonomics
The Schwinn 270 is designed to make your workouts efficient, smooth and enjoyable so that you can get your best results. The seat bottom is sculpted to comfortably secure your legs in the optimal position for your work out, and the seat back contains excellent lumbar support and is vented to reduce your heat build-up.
You can also easily adjust the seat forward and backward to fit your height perfectly. These features mean that throughout your workout, you will naturally sit in the optimum posture to both maximize your workout results and minimize your chance of injury.
The vented and cushioned seat is very comfortable and gives you support in all the right places.
The console looks great and is very intuitive to use. You can easily select your settings, and the presence of two screens means that you can see your heart rate and calories progress even if you have a device resting on the console.
The Schwinn 270 is built with a weighted flywheel tension system. You may be concerned that it will, therefore, create more noise than other models, but don’t worry – this isn’t the case, it is very quiet. This means you get an effective workout while watching television, and without worrying that you are disturbing your neighbors or family. The 3-piece crank system maintains a consistent motion, giving you sturdy, dependable performance.
Ease Of Use
You will find that this bike is very easy to assemble – it can be done in under an hour, so you can quickly get on with your training. It even comes with the tools you need to build it, making it much easier and less hassle for you. You control the resistance and settings are all controlled from the console, which is very easy to work.
The seat has a handle either side in a natural position for you to hold – perfect as this is where the heart rate monitor is located. Alternatively, if you would rather keep your hands free, you can purchase a chest strap to monitor your heart separately.
You can adjust the position of the seat forward and backward on a slide mechanism to match your height exactly. You can do this very quickly by simply using a lever. Once in position, you have the option to alter your resistance between 10 different levels, but simply selecting the corresponding key. The resistance is very responsive, and you will notice a very smooth, fast transition between levels.
A three-speed fan helps you stay cool during your workouts, and there is a large water bottle holder to the side of the seat so you can access it easily.
Display & Media
The console is very easy to read and intuitive to use, so you can easily choose between the wide range of settings. There are 29 programs to choose from, which includes 12 profiles, 8 heart rate options, 4 custom users and 2 fitness tests among other features. This huge range will keep your workouts challenging and interesting so that you get the most out of your time on the bike.
Make your workouts even more enjoyable by jumping into virtual reality! Schwinn bikes are partnered with RideSocial, a mixed reality cycling app, which has an amazing range of HD video cycling routes from around the world. Cycle the most stunning trails in the world from your own home or gym – your Schwinn bike will track your speed, and the app will adjust your progress on the video!
Make this VR even more realistic by wearing a VR phone holder headset and experience the routes in 360⁰. You can find VR goggles that connect to your Android or Apple phone here.
If you don’t fancy riding in virtual reality, you can listen to music through the sealed acoustic speakers. They deliver high-quality sound, streamed directly from your phone via Bluetooth or USB port.
The first thing you will notice about the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike is the quality of the build. It is strong, sturdy and extremely safe. It has a “walkthrough” frame, meaning you don’t have to climb over anything to use it – this is much safer and a key consideration if you have issues with your balance. It is also stabilized with wheels at the front to make it easier to move the equipment, and a leveler at the back to keep it balanced.
The newly-improved pedals are wide, and with straps, so your feet are held secure throughout your workout. Also, the combination of contoured seats, lumbar support, and easy distance adjustment ensure you maintain the optimal posture for your workout, so you don’t put a strain on your body.
- Extremely comfortable
- Easy access – very safe
- Very sturdy
- Built-in fan
- Built-in, high-quality speakers
- Connects to devices via Bluetooth
- Charge your device while you work out
- Comfortable location of pulse monitors
- None, we love this exercise bike!
Overall, you would make an excellent choice by picking this Schwinn recumbent exercise bike. We love how well-built it is, and how everything is designed to make your workouts engaging, enjoyable and comfortable, as well as challenging so that you always get the most out of them. It is great to be able to connect it to other apps too, both to track your progress and compete with your friends, as well as even combine it with virtual reality! Whether you are tall or short, beginner or advanced athlete, you will be glad you chose this model of recumbent exercise bike.
Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Exercise Bike
The Schwinn AD6 is more than just an upright exercise bike. It is a full-body, cardio workout system. It promises to build your strength and burn your calories. It is an air bike, so has a fantastic fan system, which means that the more you put into your work out, the more you get out of it!
Design & Ergonomics
This is a solid, well-built exercise bike that you can use to work out both your upper body and lower body, either at the same time or separately. It looks professional, and it is sturdy and well balanced to give you the best workout. It has a simple, easy-to-read console that displays your workout readings clearly.
This Airdyne bike is different to the other types of exercise bike, in that you don’t need to set a resistance level. Instead, the resistance gets stronger as you pedal harder and faster.
This is great because it means that there is no upper limit to the resistance, and it is rare to find in exercise bikes. It also means that you are in full control of your workout – you can’t cycle too fast and cause yourself an injury, and there are also fewer parts within the bike to go wrong.
It has a 2-stage Super Torque belt drive, which enables smoother pedal motion and therefore a more comfortable experience throughout your workout. It also has a plastic fan which is quiet and causes no friction.
There are no programs built into the computer, but you don’t need them – you are fully in control of the workout yourself – just choose to work on your arm, legs or both and how hard you want to push it. This makes it a great choice if you enjoy interval training. It also means that whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, it will suit your level of fitness.
Ease Of Use
While the instructions advise having a second person to help with the assembly, it is easy to do and should not take you more than an hour. As with the other Schwinn bikes, the instructions are clear, and the necessary tools are all included in the kit, so you don’t need to go hunting for your toolkit before you start!
It is extremely easy to use – to get a greater resistance, just pedal harder! You don’t need to spend time setting up the computer, simply hop on and start pedaling! You will get some air flow back from the fan as well, to keep you cool. If you don’t like this then you can buy a windscreen separately, although you probably won’t need this – the breeze isn’t excessive unless you are pedaling backward!
You can work out your upper and lower body together or separately, which makes your workout more interesting, and gives you more from each workout. The handlebars work similar to elliptical machines, so whether it is arm day or leg day, this cardio machine will give you a highly effective workout.
The slimline console presents everything you need; rate per minutes, time, speed, distance, Watts, calories, and pulse. It displays the readings on a high-resolution LCD screen which is clear and easy to read. The pulse meter reads from sensors in the handles, and if you want an even more accurate reading, you can buy a chest strap separately.
Unlike some other designs, it does not have a “walkthrough” frame, so if you have poor balance, then other bikes may be more suitable for you. However, it is an extremely stable exercise bike. The nature of the fan system means that it requires ventilation, but it would be hard to get anything cage it the cage system – just take care with young children!
- Suitable for all levels of fitness
- Infinite resistance
- Easy to read, simple console
- Whole body workout
- Sculpted seat
- Airflow from the fan as you pedal
- Great for interval training
- Less suited to those with poor balance
- No built-in programs, although you don’t need them for this bike
- No Bluetooth connectivity
This is a fantastic workout system for beginners and advanced athletes. You have complete control throughout your workout, creating your resistance and deciding whether you are working out your legs and arms independently or separately. This infinite resistance means that you will always be challenged, so your workouts will be interesting, and you will always get the most out of your training session.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
If you are tight on space and want to be able to put away your exercise bike when you are not using it, this afforadable bike is for you. It is a heavy-duty upright bike that is built to give you an efficient, effective workout while maintaining your comfort. What’s more, you can fold it up to half its original size and put it away for storage, so you don’t need to worry about it taking up valuable space in your home between workout sessions. It is a great beginner’s exercise bike, which for a long time has remained one of the top sellers and highest rated products in the market.
The Exerpeutic folding bike is built with a heavy-duty design that can support you up to 300lbs (136 kg) in weight, despite only weighing 39lbs itself. Despite being a folding design, this bike is very sturdy and feels stable when you are riding it, but you should remember that it is built to be used on a hard, flat surface.
This bike uses a magnetic tensions system, meaning quiet operation so you can cycle freely knowing that you are not disturbing your neighbors or sleeping family. There are 8 settings on this tension system, which you control by turning the dial on the side of the bike. This is a great choice of indoor bike whether you are new to this workout or not. You can start with low or medium resistance and still have plenty of scope to increase the tension as you become stronger and fitter. Meanwhile, the 3-piece crank system creates a smooth, steady movement while you pedal, meaning you get a consistent workout which is easy on your joints.
Ease Of Use
In the first instance, you will find this bike very easy to assemble. The elements are lightweight despite being heard-wearing, and the instructions included in the pack are easy to understand. You can easily adjust the height of the seat which fist user heights of between 5’3” and 6’1” (160-185cm).
This bike has been designed with your comfort in mind. You will find it very easy to get on and off, and when riding it, you will feel comfortable in the large and well-padded seat cushion. The seat comfortably holds large bottoms, and the extra padding absorbs any shock during your workout.
Another benefit of this bike is the pulse tracker which is on the handlebars. It is important to keep track of your heart rate throughout your workout regardless of how fit you are. Having the pulse tracker where you comfortably hold the handlebars means you don’t even need to think about it, and the value will be clearly displayed on your LCD screen throughout your workout.
The bike has a large LCD screen, which clearly displays your speed, time, distance, calories burnt and pulse rate. This makes it easy for you just to glance down to check your status’ and keep within your target heart rate region. It has a holder for you to put your phone, tv remote or other devices in during your workout.
The pedals, like the seat, are a larger size and have adjustable straps to keep your feet secure throughout your workout, meaning your feet won’t slip while you pedal. There are also built-in leg stabilizers which prevent wobbles or tipping during your workout.
- Easy to use
- Range of tensions to try
- Folds away for storage
- If you are outside the height range, it may not be suitable
- Not as comfortable as the higher end bikes
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- No intelligent fitness tracking
Overall, this is a great indoor exercise bike. Its lightweight, yet sturdy design which can fold away is perfect for small areas. It has what you need for a great workout, which it provides with reliability, but without complicated add-ons.
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike With Resistance
It is without a doubt one of the most popular recumbent exercise bikes on the market, probably because of the great price and the fact it takes up a must smaller space than other models. You get a lot for your money, and it boasts many of the features that more expensive exercise bikes have, such as the magnetic resistance system and comfortable padded seat.
The Marcy ME-709 has a compact yet sturdy physique. It is a great choice if you are looking to workout from home without losing your floor space, measuring only 55.5L x 25W x 37.5H inches (140 X 63.5 x 95 cm). Plus it has wheels at the front, so you can roll it away once you are finished. It weighs in at 93 lbs (42 kg), so it is extremely sturdy, perhaps surprisingly so considering how small it is. This means it is strong and stable, giving you a more balanced workout. The pedals are weighted, giving you consistent movement and therefore a smoother workout which is easier on your joints.
This recumbent exercise bike uses a magnetic tension system, meaning virtually silent operation, so you can cycle freely without disturbing your family and not even have to turn up the television volume! There are 8 different levels of resistance – a great range to choose from throughout your workout and for increasing with subsequent workouts as you get fitter. You can easily select the one you want by turning a dial on the side of the console stand – it is extremely easy to use.
Ease Of Use
You will find this is certainly a very easy exercise bike to use. When you first receive it, you will be able to assemble as quickly as within 1 hour so you can get straight on and start training. You can easily adjust the distance by unscrewing the handle and sliding the seat forward so that you can find a great fit for your leg length. Unlike other bikes, there is no need to adjust the height of the seat, so you will find that it is fixed at one level.
The Marcy Recumbent exercise bike has a very simple, easy-to-read console that displays your time, speed, distance, and calories burnt. The values are displayed in a large size so you can read your progress throughout your workout.
While it does not collect and save your data in its computer, or communicate with an app, the readings it displays are easy for you to read and understand, so you can still manually track your progress. This is made easier because the computer will not automatically clear your exercise data until you press the reset button.
The simplicity of this exercise bike also means that it is very safe to use. The frame has a “walkover” design, meaning you only need to raise your feet slightly to get over it. This means that it is suitable for people who have poor balance as it is safer the models which require you to swing a leg over. The sturdy handlebars will keep you even more balanced during your workout.
The tread on the pedals has great grip, to your feet are held securely in place, even more so with the adjustable straps that go over the top of your shoes. The transport wheels on the front make it safer for you to roll away the bike after use, and the stabilizers at the back ensure it does not rock.
- Easy to use
- Clear metrics display
- Comfortable seat
- Simple Resistance Adjustment
- Does not monitor pulse rate
- No pre-programmed workouts
- Does not automatically track progress
- No bluetooth connectivity
Overall this is a great exercise bike. It is simple to use but gives great results. You will enjoy using it, with its very fast setup, comfortable position, and quiet performance. Even better, it is an affordable price.
Exerpeutic WORKFIT 1000 Folding Semi-Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Exerputic Workfit 1000 is a semi-recumbent exercise bike with a difference. It enables you to work out while you workout – perfect for those of us who have little spare time and enjoy multitasking! It is comfortable, fully adjustable, and even folds up to less than half its size so you can store it between sessions. It is very adaptable, and one of the best exercise workstations on the market.
This Exerpeutic Recumbent bike is a high-quality build which gives you the opportunity to multi-task while you cycle, giving you the opportunity to work out even if you don’t have much free time. It is fully adjustable; the seat adjusts on a diagonal to fit users between 5ft 2 and 6ft3 (1.57m-190m) and desk, which is 16”x24” (40 x 60cm), adjusts forward and back and can be tilted at 0⁰, 16⁰ and 33⁰. Not only can you sit comfortably in the thickly-padded seat, but you can also raise the desk to stand up if you want a break from cycling.
The fully-adjustable desk has a soft foam armrest to keep you comfortable as you write or type. It also has 2 cup holders and even a storage drawer! The desk is plenty big enough to support a laptop, and it will hold up to 44 lbs (19kg), which is about 9-10 times the weight of an average laptop.
The seat has been designed to be comfortable long term. It is a large size – 11” x 15” (28cm x 38cm), with a comfortable shape. It is padded with 2.5” (6.4 cm) thickness of Airsoft sponge, and the seat back is large and also cushioned. It is slightly tilted back, so you remain in the recumbent position, but you will comfortably reach both the pedals and the desktop.
By increasing your circulation and improving your health and fitness, you may even find that your concentration and quality of work improves, so there are many benefits of using this bike.
This bike uses an 8-level magnetic tension resistance system, which means its performance is virtually silent, so you take calls or even video conference without worrying about noise disruption! The precision balanced flywheel and V-belt drive mean that you get smooth motion as well as the quiet operation. This smooth movement means your desk will not shake as your pedals, so you can concentrate on your desk work while working out efficiently. Despite being only semi-recumbent, the range in resistance means that you will get effective workouts from this bike.
Ease Of Use
This bike is extremely to use. You will put it together with ease using the tools provided and be cycling while working in no time! It even comes with the batteries which are required to power the console! You will soon be pedaling without even realizing, so you can improve your fitness without eating into your precious free time. It means you don’t need to feel guilty about relaxing after work because you’ve already put in your daily exercise!
To change the resistance level, you just need to twist the dial on the frame, which makes selecting your workout incredibly easy! No matter what resistance level you choose, the operation is smooth and quiet. Once you are done with your workout, you can easily fold up to store the bike. It closes to have a footprint of 21.3” x 25.2” (54cm x 64cm), and then you can roll it away on the transportation wheels. On occasions when you choose not to work while you pedal, you can hold the handles at your sides to keep track of your pulse.
The console is very easy to read, even if you have a laptop on the desk, and it is simple to use by just pressing the button to scroll through the different work out metrics. The readings displayed on the LCD include distance, calories, time, speed, scan and heart rate.
The display only shows one reading at once, which you can choose by pressing the mode button. It automatically turns on when you begin pedaling, and it will switch off after a few minutes break from pedaling. While it does not connect to a device to save your workout metrics, if you would like to track your progress over time then you can easily tap your readings into your laptop.
Despite being foldable, this is an extremely sturdy bike. Being fully adjustable means you can set it to match your height perfectly so that you maintain the optimal posture for your workout. It is worth considering that you will have to lift your leg to get on the bike, so you will need to take care if you have poor balance. The stand has floor-leveling stabilizers to prevent shaking and tipping during your workouts.
- Very stable, sturdy design
- Cupholder, desktop, and drawer
- Stable laptop/work desk
- Very quiet, magnetic resistance
- Comfortable seat and position
- Clear, easy screen
- Fold to store
- Less suited to very tall or short people
- Does not save data over time
- No Bluetooth connectivity
This is an excellent choice if you are looking to fit exercise into your busy life. You can multitask without disturbance. It folds away for storage yet provides a stable frame for even vigorous workouts and maintains a shake-free work desk. It is quiet and gives you 8 levels of resistance to choose from.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Right Exercise Bike For You
You may have the best plan in the world, but fitting regular exercise sessions into your already busy schedule is hard – we’ve all been there. Cycling in cities is unappealing with the volume of traffic on the roads, and even in the countryside, no one wants to cycle in the rain. While the gym may be a solution, if it is not on your doorstep the desire to stay at home after a day’s work regularly outweighs your obligation to go.
So what is the solution? An indoor exercise bike for your home.
What Are The Benefits Of Using An Indoor Exercise Bike?
- Low impact, highly effective cardio workout – work out at a pace that suits you, burning through calories without putting a strain on your joints. You will soon notice the pounds dropping off you and your muscles toning up!
- Convenience – exercise from the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you, while working or catching up on your favorite show!
- Easy – you don’t need to be skilled at cycling, or even have a level of fitness before you begin. Indoor cycling is as great for beginners as it is for pros, even if you have poor balance.
- Monitor your fitness – unlike outdoor bikes, most indoor exercise bikes provide workout data on a computer, for you to track your progress over time. Some even connect directly to your phone or tablet and save it to apps! Data includes your heart rate, distance, speed and calories burnt.
- Varied workout plans – have a go at interval training, long distance training or spinning, there are many varieties of workout you can try with an indoor bike, which keeps you challenged and therefore engaged in your workout plan
- Forget the weather forcast– indoor exercise bikes can be used whatever the weather, and whatever the time of day. Modern models such as all of the ones we reviewed above are very quiet, and won’t disturb your neighbors or sleeping family.
- Lower stress levels – you are sure to enjoy cycling, but it will also give you endorphins, which help you feel happier, less stressed and even give you more resistance to illness.
Having an exercise bike at home means you can cut out the expense of a gym membership that you rarely use and exercise at a time that is convenient for you. It is much easier to fit in fitness activities at home, and with indoor exercise bikes, you can easily multitask while you work out.
Which Type Of Exercise Bike Should You Choose?
There are several things to consider when choosing your exercise bike. The first is what type of exercise bike you want, upright or recumbent being the main two variations. We covered the differences between them earlier, but here are the advantages and disadvantages of both:
Upright Exercise Bike Pros & Cons
- Similar workout to an outdoor bike
- Often cheaper
- More models available
- Often take up less room
- Suited to more varied workouts
- Saddle may be less comfortable
- Less suited to those with balance issues
Recumbent Exercise Bike Pros & Cons
- Excellent for those with back or balance issues
- Maintain a comfortable position
- Excellent support – no strain
- Many have a “stepover” frame – easier to get on
- Easier to cycle handsfree
- More comfortable workout = longer sessions
- Often take up more floor space
- Can be more expensive
There are two weight considerations for you to have: your own weight and the weight of the bike. All of the bikes we reviewed above can carry up to 300lbs (136 kg), but if you weigh more you will need a stronger frame.
Ensuring the mechanism of the bike – the chain or flywheel – is enclosed is by far the safest option, to prevent fingers, clothing or other items getting stuck in the mechanism of the bike and causing injury. All of the bikes we have reviewed have enclosed mechanics, although if you have small children, you may need to take extra care if you choose the Airdyne option, as the fan requires some ventilation.
Type Of Resistance
There are several types of resistance: fan-based, magnetic, direct contact and brake-based. While modern bikes are all now very quiet, it is also worth considering how quiet you want your bike performance to be, as some mechanisms are naturally louder than others.
- Fan-based: this gives you infinite resistance, pedal harder and faster and the resistance will increase. It uses a resistance fan connected via a belt and pulley system to the pedals and is very quiet. Plus, you get a bit of breeze to keep you cool too!
- Magnetic: this is by far the quietest option. This is because there is no contact between the resistant parts, and therefore there is no friction, which also means that there is also no wear and tears, so your bike can last longer.
- Direct-contact: This is the opposite of the magnetic resistance, in that is uses friction to create resistance. It is a braking system that can be set precisely, making it easier to set a particular level of resistance to train.
- Brake-based: the most common option. This uses a flywheel, a weighted metal disk that connects indirectly to the pedals via a belt or chain. To increase the resistance a heavier flywheel is required, so often this system is combined with a magnetic or direct contact system.
Are you a beginner or an advanced athlete? Are you looking for built-in programs or would you prefer just to hop on and pedal?
If you are hoping to improve your fitness and use your bike for your long-term fitness, then it is a good idea to choose one which is suitable for both beginners and advanced athletes. Some simpler bikes do not have enough scope as your fitness improves, whereas bikes which suit a range of abilities will keep your workouts challenging and interesting throughout.
Once you have your exercise bike, you will hopefully enjoy using it a lot and be sat on it for a while for each session. Therefore, it is important that you are kept comfortable. Upright and recumbent bike seats have slightly different considerations required.
On an upright bike, consider the depth of the padding and the shape of the saddle. The deeper the padding the better, but is it sculpted in a suitable and comfortable shape? Also, consider how much the position can be adjusted. If you are of average height, this will be less of an issue, but if you are particularly tall or short then consider does it move up and down as well as forwards and backward, or does it more on a diagonal, which may be slightly more limiting for you?
For a recumbent bike, consider the shape of the seat bottom. Is it contoured to keep your legs secure in a comfortable position? Also think about whether the seat back has adequate support, particularly for your lumbar region (lower back).
Is it well-padded, and is it ventilated at all to help keep you cool while you work out? If you have issues with a sore neck, you may also want to consider whether the seat has a neck rest, or at least whether you can buy one separately. However, most high-quality recumbent bikes will give you plenty of support in the upper back even if they don’t have a neck rest.
For both types of bike, will the seat be easy to keep clean? Will it cause you to slip?
Consider the features of an exercise bike that are most important to you. Do you want to link it to your phone or tablet and track your progress automatically? Do you want to be able to work while you work out? Do you want to combine it with virtual reality to make your work out more enjoyable?
Another feature I consider important is the security of your feet on the pedals. A substantial tread to prevent slippage and a secure strap will keep you safe, which is particularly important on upright bikes.
To Fold Or Not To Fold?
Are you limited for space? Would you rather be able to put your bike away when you are done with your workout? If the answer is yes, then consider a bike which can fold up. Take care though, some cheaper options are less sturdy, more likely to wobble and cannot withstand users of as heavier a weight.
If you are concerned about limited space but don’t want a folding bike, then it is better to go for an upright bike rather than a recumbent one. Uprights bikes usually have a much smaller footprint than recumbent bikes, so will leave you with more floor space.
As you can see, there is a huge amount to consider before you get your exercise bike, but hopefully now have a clearer understanding of what you want to get from your new exercise bike and a clearer decision on which one you will pick.
Exercise bikes, whether upright or recumbent are an excellent piece of exercise equipment. It gives you a highly effective cardio workout that can be built up over time and varied between sessions. You are at low risk of injury on an exercise bike, as it won’t put a strain on your joints. Once you have bought an exercise bike you can use at home, you won’t look back!